The Frogs set records left and right in Albuquerque Saturday, while capturing their second consecutive outright Mountain West championship, and cementing their position as the cartel-outsider eligible to claim the Rose Bowl autobid, if not something better.
Quarterback Andy Dalton and the seniors are the winningest Frogs of all time, with 43 notches on their belts; they led the team’s highest ever MWC point total, and set school season records for touchdowns (70) and points scored (520). Dalton’s 26 touchdowns are a new TCU season high, as are his 10,095 passing yards. The ginger’s total plays from scrimmage (1,698), total yards (11,678), and consecutive games with a touchdown pass (20) are MWC records. Ross Evans’s nine extra points are a new high for a TCU kicker.
Perhaps most impressively, the Frogs rewrote all of these records with Casey Pachall at quarterback for most of the game. Dalton left after being sacked and hitting the elbow on his throwing arm; he was not seriously injured. The redshirt freshman’s stats (4-6 for 54 yards and a touchdown, and 5 rushes for 31 yards and a touchdown) were decent. Dalton’s were absurd: 9-14 for 156 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Tanner Brock was the defensive force du jour; Tank Carder registered four tackles, after an unusual blank showing two weeks ago.
Many Frogs who left the San Diego State game injured played, including Ed Wesley, Stansley Maponga, Jimmy Young. Kyle Dooley took his first snaps in over a month; Jeremy Kerley did not play.
Now TCU turns its attention to the post season. While all eyes will be on Oregon State and South Carolina– either of which can spring TCU into the title game with a win– the “consolation” prize in Pasadena would be the most poetic ending to this season. The Granddaddy of Them All hasn’t flirted with TCU since FDR’s first term in the White House. SMU foiled that matchup, and the Frogs haven’t been anywhere near the Rose Bowl since then. A trip to L.A. would complete TCU’s tour of the major bowls (Sugar: 1936, ’39; Cotton: ’37, ’45, ’52, ’56, ’57, ’59, Orange: ’42; Fiesta ’10).
Ezra Hood blogs about all things TCU football at The Purple Wimple.